Twenty Years Back, Bob Evans stepped on stage in the Grosvenor Hotel on a Tuesday or Wednesday night.
The meagre crowd consisted of this folk-pop singer’s mother, housemates and friends, such as members of platinum-selling Perth alternative rock band, Jebediah.
“I remember being incredibly nervous,” says Evans, actual name Kevin Mitchell, frontman for the above high-flyers.
“I did not get like this prior to a Jebediah gig playing in front of lots of people,” Mitchell climbs over the telephone from his house on Victoria’s Bellarine Peninsula.
“I was so nervous I would need to take Imodium prior shows — that is how anxious I was.”
However, the pre-gig nerves were not bad enough he shelved Bob Evans, the Jebediah singer’s socket for music mixing his love of classic 60so pop, like the Beatles, Mamas and Papas, along with Don McLean, together with nu-country heroes Wilco.
In 2003, when Jebediah were dropped from Sony offshoot Murmur and began his own label, Redline Records, Mitchell took the opportunity to launch his Bob Evans introduction Suburban Kid.
2 decades after, the West Coast Eagles enthusiast found himself documenting the followup, Suburban Songbook, in Nashville with Sheryl Crow and Yo La Tengo producer Brad Jones, to get major label Capitol.
Published in May 2006, first single Don’t You Think It’s Time — a gentle folk ballad inspired by John Lennon — created Bob Evans’ title.
“In Perth it was inserted to each radio channel from RTRFM into 94.5 and each channel between,” says Mitchell, who’d returned from six months backpacking around Europe to detect his alter ego was a very major thing.
“It was simply incredible. Nothing like this had ever occurred to Jebediah and it totally took me by surprise”
Forty-year-old Mitchell clarifies 2006 because his”golden year”, together with Suburban Songbook climbing in the ARIA Top 20, winning an ARIA Award for the best contemporary album together with nominations for the J Award as well as Australian Music Prize.
“For the first time , I had been becoming critical praise,” he states. “Although Jebs had attained a certain degree of fame, the critics did not love us.
“The Eagles won the premiership that year and that I was in the game as a guest of the team.
“Plus, I have married this year. I have married a week after I won the ARIA Award”
After Suburban Songbook, Mitchell enlarged his sonic range 2009’s Goodnight, Bull Creek! ) , 2013’s Familiar Stranger and 2016’s Car Boot Sale because his lead slowed down with the birth of kids.
Songs like Pasha Bulker, Do Not na Grow Anymore and Matterfact veer closer to this up-tempo alt-rock seem of Jebediah compared to his ancient folk-pop attempts.
“The more that proceeded on the longer I felt just like Bob Evans was my sole path to research whatever songs I wanted to research,” Mitchell offers.
“Jebs will always seem like Jebediah. That’s the noise of the four people.
“However, I hope Bob Evans will let me take all those turns and twists and experimentation — and f.. . up.”
Songs constituting five Bob Evans albums seem on Full Circle, a”best of” collection additionally containing covers of Buzzcocks, Santigold, Lily Allen and John Prine tunes along with renditions of all Mitchell’s favorite WA songs from the Sleepy Jackson, Red Jezebel, Little Birdy, the Triffids and Eskimo Joe.
Whether Mitchell dishes some of those covers on his federal Total Circle tour is actually a raffle. “Everybody who comes to the gig will receive a raffle ticket,” he clarifies. “Then I will pull raffle tickets from a hat and when the number comes up you can ask any song I have published under the Bob Evans name, therefore it does comprise covers. And I will try to play with them.
“It seemed like a fantastic idea once I thought of itbut today the truth is sinking from what I need to do in order to get ready for this. There are many tunes I have never performed live, you understand, listed for a B-side and never thought about .”
Better package the Imodium.
Total Circle is outside today. Bob Evans performs the Rosemount Hotel on October 27. Tickets are available in Oztix.